Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On Cinema

I saw two great movies last week: I'm Not There and No Country For Old Men. The first is the fictionalization of Bob Dylan's life from the time of his emergence to his motorcycle crash in 1966. Dylan is portrayed by six different characters, none of whom actually go by Dylan's name. The best moments are provided by Cate Blanchett - she captures all of Dylan's posturing, nervousness, deceit and brilliance - and by Jim James and Calexico's rendition of Going to Acapulco. The rest of the movie is merely great.

No Country For Old Men is something different entirely. I did not enjoy a minute of it. I cannot wait to see it again. The brothers Coen have not made their best movie, but they have set a recent standard for faithful adaptation of a novel and for unremitting tension. If you want to get a sense of what happens when a man takes on a task and a landscape bigger then himself, unaware of its danger and sure of his ability, watch this movie and consider how ignoble and plain is the protagonist's end.

That shall likely be it until the New Year, so best of the season to my three readers.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Romney goes half way

Here are excerpts from Mitt Romney's speech tonight. They include nothing on how he justified belonging to and proselytizing for an officially racist organization. I guess he's saving that explanation for the full speech.

If you think I am being hard on Romney, you're wrong. Any man who follows a religion which believed just thirty years ago that blacks lacked souls and denied them the sacrements should be made to explain if he was at least uncomfortable with this doctrine. If his response was that it took a "revelation" to church elders to correct his view, then you have to wonder whether he'll look to similar revelations when he's in the White House.

There should be, of course, no religious test for the presidency. But we should be willing to expect a candidate to explain his adherence to a racist doctrine, just as he should be made to explain whether he believes the commandements of elders in his church take precedence over the US constitution and its laws.